RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Quad City Mallards defeated the Rapid City Rush 3-1 in dramatic fashion on Wednesday night to close out the opening round of the CHL Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup playoffs and advance to the Semi-Final round. The Mallards, who won the series 4-3, will take on the Allen Americans in a best-of-seven series to determine a spot in the Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Final. Game one is schedule for Friday night at the Allen Event Center.
Jordan Mayer and Thomas Frazee each scored a goal and had an assist and Thomas Heemskerk made 26 saves to launch the Mallards in to the second round. Mayer provided the game’s first goal at 1:33 of the second period while Frazee scored the eventual game-winner at7:01. Rapid City’s Winston Day Chief scored just over two minutes later to halve the lead to 2-1 on a power play.
The Mallards held onto the one-goal lead deep into the third period, until Vladimir Nikiforov drew a penalty from the Rush’s Tristin Llewellyn for elbowing. Nikiforov then scored a crucial insurance goal at 18:19 of the third period to all but seal victory for the Mallards.
Prior to the game, Mallards coach Terry Ruskowski made some personnel adjustments, sitting forward Jim McKenzie and playing Mike Hellyer, who had missed the team’s previous 28 games due to injury. In addition, Ruskowski decided to start Thomas Heemskerk in goal, although Ty Rimmer played a strong game the night before. The strategy paid off for the Mallards coach, and Quad City’s season will continue while Rapid City will start planning for next season.